Raid on Trump lawyer about payments to women

Michael Cohen personal attorney for US President Donald Trump

Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told a federal judge in NY on Friday that they believe some of the documents and devices seized from Cohen during an FBI raid are protected by attorney-client privilege, and they want a chance to review the items before prosecutors get to examine them. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the Enquirer's parent company, whose chief executive is a friend of Trump's.

Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents, working under the authority of the United States attorney in Manhattan, seized records relating to Karen McDougal, the former Playmate who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump, and Stephanie Clifford, the porn star known as Stormy Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump just once, according to the person.

Agents also subpoenaed records of New York City taxi medallions that Cohen owns, according to CNN.

The New York Times, which first reported the news about the two women, said the search warrant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation raids also sought information about McDougal, who was paid $US150,000 by the parent company of The National Enquirer tabloid, which then withheld a story about her relationship with Trump.

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The new details on the Cohen raid emerged as the president boiled over on Twitter about it and evidence that investigators are zeroing in on his inner circle.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's seen no clear indication that Congress needs to step in and pass legislation that would prevent the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller.

But the president's ire has been directed at Mueller and his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A search warrant used in the raid Monday sought bank records, business records on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, information on payments made to a former Playboy model and a porn actress who say they had affairs with Trump, and Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign, according to people familiar with the investigation.

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The White House remained defiant that the president has the power to directly fire Mueller - despite Justice Department regulations saying otherwise.

The president had been telling confidants for weeks that he was not eager to make the three-day trip, which had already been shortened from original plans, according to two people who have discussed it with him in recent weeks but were not authorized to disclose the private conversations. Acting with a search warrant, the raid was carried out at least in part based on a referral from Mueller's team to a federal prosecutor in NY.

The president on Wednesday continued his attacks on the Justice Department, tweeting that "much of the bad blood with Russian Federation is caused by the fake & corrupt Russian Federation investigation". Rosenstein then determines whether to allow Mueller to proceed or to assign the matter elsewhere.

The cover comes after the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this week raided Cohen's office, seizing emails, documents and records, some of them related to his payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

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The White House has consistently said Trump denies either affair. Cohen has acknowledged that he paid Clifford $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence just days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has said he didn't know about the payment. Those emails, they said, indicated that Cohen was "performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Trump".

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